Monthly Archives: August 2011

Aug 30

Copywriting Success: Salesmanship Mentality – How to Sell Anything!

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

Salesmanship; the word immediately triggers a negative response from most people. The average consumer doesn’t like talking to salespeople, and most new entrepreneurs don’t like the idea of selling to their consumers.

I understand that. Sale reps can be intimidating and it’s uncomfortable making small talk with them because you know their intent is to pitch you something. When I’m browsing a retail store I prefer to be left alone until I have questions or until I’ve decided to go ahead and buy.

But I do understand the need for selling in our society. Quite honestly, this activity is responsible for most of the advances we enjoy as a civilization. Not only do salespeople drive the world economy with their diligent efforts, the idea behind every technological or medical advance in history had to first, be sold to someone. We all use selling on a daily basis to improve our own lives and make the world a better place, whether we’re teaching our kids the importance of recycling or we’re trying to get a date at the supermarket with the cute cashier at checkout #6.

The reality that most business people wake up to very quickly is that all but natural born salespeople have a really difficult time with hard selling. People tend to think of selling as impolite, and they are uncomfortable trying to convince people to buy from them. A lot of new businesspeople and entrepreneurs are uncomfortable selling. Note the word “new”, because those that survive in their field long-term either get over it and learn to sell, or they hire someone else to do the selling for them; the only other alternative is to go under due to lack of revenue.

Even if you have a great product, you must be able to craft an effective sales message in order to move this item into the possession of a customer who really wants or needs it. The great fallacy that kills many businesses is the notion that a great product will sell itself; if this were true the world we live in would be very different and nobody would need a sales force for their company.

Think about it: No matter how great a product is, how can your prospect really know this unless you point out all the benefits for them?

To overcome any reticence you have in this area, you need to understand that selling can be a very positive thing. It doesn’t have to be about tricking people into giving you their money. As master salesman, Zig Ziglar, likes to say, you are the customer’s trusted “assistant buyer”, helping them to make a choice to improve their life. Wealth Coach, Harv Eker, points out, you should be proud of the value you offer and promote it “with passion and enthusiasm”. If you entertain any negative thoughts or feelings about selling, shift your perspective immediately and look at sales ability as a wonderful thing that makes the world better for all involved.

Secondly, understand that it isn’t essential to be a great salesperson to leverage copy writing, for big profits. Most people, whether they’d admit it or not, actually enjoy reading a great sales letter about a product or service they have an interest in. The sales copy model would have faded away a long time ago, if this method didn’t work and weren’t well-received by the buyer. And the best part about this is that you don’t have to interact directly with the prospect, so there’s no pressure and no rejection!

It’s much easier to say something in writing – whether it’s on paper or on a webpage – than to say it directly to another person who is standing in front of you. You can take all the time in the world to think over each line, and you can edit your work until your message relays exactly what you want to say. To be a successful copywriter all you need to be able to do, is write a simple letter and learn the simple secrets I’m about to reveal.

The following three simple rules will help you get started with effective copy writing immediately. Of course you could spend an entire career improving your game but the main thing is to start with solid fundamentals and have fun mastering the basics.

One final caveat: You DO need to develop the sales mentality or your default psychological position will be to look for excuses and you’ll be writing with an exit in mind rather than a sale. Any lack of confidence or negative feelings toward selling will show through in your finished copy. Be sure to find your strong mental game before you start writing.

Rule Number One: People Don’t Like Being Sold

Most people love to buy, but are not fond of being directly sold to. Or more accurately, most folks don’t like knowing they are the target of a sales pitch.

Buying is a control position. Consumers feel empowered by the idea that they can spend their money with you or go elsewhere. Being pushed into a purchase by an assertive salesperson however is the opposite of being in control. This is why retail shoppers don’t like sales reps and it’s why your reader will click away if they feel they are being manipulated into a buying decision.

Your job as a copywriter is, to be as helpful as possible in terms of showing the reader how they can solve a big problem or attain something that makes them feel good about who they are. Your letter must focus heavily on benefits, feelings, and problem solving.

Rule Number Two: Focus on Emotional Triggers

The best copywriters can push the right emotional buttons. Most people don’t buy from an intellectual place, they purchase based on the emotions of the moment or the anticipated emotions of actually possessing the product/service. Some experts believe that people only engage rational thought AFTER they have bought. They spend money in an emotional moment and then they use their intellect to justify the decision later on.

Think about some of the illogical things people happily spend money on. Take chocolate cake and other sweets, for example. The stuff causes excess fat, and it can screw up your metabolism and blood sugar, yet any one category of desserts, candy, etc. is a multi-million dollar industry. Nobody needs a big slab of chocolate cake, people love it because it makes them feel great for a little while.

This is just one example of emotional button-pushing. In a previous article, I listed the big seven, powerful emotional motivators that are also known as the Seven Deadly Sins: fear, greed, vanity, lust, pride, envy, and laziness. These emotions obviously have a very negative slant but this doesn’t mean your letter needs to be twisted and depressing. Besides which, the readers won’t deliberately think of themselves in any of these ways, so your approach to hitting the buttons will be subtle.

For example, a software application that will save your prospect time could trigger the laziness and pride buttons. Your copy might paint a vivid picture of all the downtime the software can offer users, as well as instilling the idea that co-workers will be jealous of your buyer when they find out they are using your slick program. See how you can push these emotional buttons without being tactless?

Rule Number Three: Emphasize the Benefits

Once you understand the emotional triggers you can use for your copy, you’ll need to translate these into clear benefits for the prospect. Remember, benefits are not the same thing as features. A feature is a specific trait or quality of your product but a benefit is what this feature means for the buyer (i.e. how he or she will feel as a result of the feature).

Consider this scenario: A man walks into a store looking for a 60-inch flat screen TV for his basement. He wants this item but isn’t sure he really needs to spend the money. The sales rep, being well-trained, helps the prospect understand how much better the new TV will make his life.

Our TV shopper can easily picture himself on the couch with a beer watching his favorite team in high def. It’ll be nice to have such a clear picture with great sound and he works hard so he really deserves to be able to kick back in serious style during his free time. He also likes the idea of his buddies always wanting to watch the game at his place, once he has his new, killer TV in place. No more driving to someone else’s house each week!

Our prospect can already imagine the compliments he’ll get on his new toy. Even the ladies will want to spend time in his TV room; after all it’s a lot like going to the movies, only with privacy!

Can you see how the basic features of this TV – wider screen, high def picture and digital sound – are instantly translated into very real user benefits? And can you see how different emotions like vanity, pride, and even lust can be rolled into a simple presentation?
By pressing a couple of common emotional buttons and painting a clear picture of the benefits your buyer will enjoy, you pretty much have your product sold. All you need is a little practice and you’ll be selling your wares by the truckload.

Two Basic Selling Styles

It makes sense to close this article with a brief explanation of the two primary selling styles. You may naturally find that you lean toward one of these methods, or it may require a little time to figure out where you fit. Remember, all good selling works with emotions and these are the two basic ways to trigger your prospect’s emotional reaction.

The Classical Style

The classical approach involves stimulating a buying response without personally entering the picture. Your letter will be focused entirely on product benefits and emotional triggers, and says nothing about who you are or why the prospect should listen to you.

This is a very common approach. Think about all the things you have bought without even being aware of who was doing the selling. For example, have you ever signed up for a credit card because the bank president charmed you? Many purchases are made based on benefit points and with no consideration of the seller’s personality or story.

Classical style selling can be extremely effective but you may also be able to raise the bar by introducing yourself to your prospect, so to speak. This leads us to the second stylistic method.

The Charismatic Flair

This approach to selling heavily relies on using your personality, expertise, etc, to make an impression on your prospect. For instance, if you are a fitness coach with a weight loss product, your prior experience and knowledge can have a real impact on a reader’s buying decision.

Your personal story, including why you are the best person to buy this product from, will go a long way toward making your prospect comfortable with a recommendation. It’s also possible that your personality, reflected through your writing style, will strike a chord with the reader.

Have you ever bought a product that you didn’t really need just because you liked the salesperson? I certainly have. I recall once buying a complete car stereo system that I couldn’t even afford. I wanted to walk away, but the salesman was so funny and personable that I felt he deserved a commission. It sounds crazy but it happens a lot. No-one likes to admit it but even people who hate being sold have a hard time saying “no”. It’s just not a skill and a confidence most folks have, so you can totally win a sale just by having the right personality.

In my example above, the classic sales rep told me everything about the stereo, from everything it could do to the way it would make me feel. It was a great pitch and I wanted it badly but I still didn’t want to spend the money.

Then Mr. Charismatic salesman told me about his kids, some of his college anecdotes, and about the many car stereos he’d owned in his life. The more he talked the more I liked him and ultimately, I bought his product primarily for this reason!

You should definitely give real consideration to throwing yourself into your sales letter. You never know whom you might sway just by being you.

It’s a Confidence Thing

Before you can sell anything, you need to understand the three basic rules in this article, and you need to have a working knowledge of the two different approaches (classical, charismatic, or a combination of the two).

Above all, remain confident in your product and your ability to help your prospects make a sound buying decision. If you lack a positive sales mentality you’ll write with an exit in mind, and your potential buyers will see this every time.

Use these tips to get started and remember, selling is a skill. Whether it’s face-to-face or through a powerfully written sales letter, practice is critical to your ultimate success.

=====
By Rich Chille
=====
This article first appeared in the August 2009 issue of the MarketingDotCom newsletter. You can get a free copy of the latest issue for the price of shipping at http://the7figuresecrets.com

Aug 26

Spider Web Business Tactics: How to Build an Unbreakable Profit Network

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

I see it all the time. A newbie marketer launches his or her first website and then gets totally discouraged when their PayPal account isn’t crushed by a massive volume of sales during the first 24 hours.

Can you relate to this story? If so, you’ll want to pay close attention as this may be the most important article you’ll read this month!
One of the most common – and costly – mistakes made by new Internet marketers is trying to pull big profits out of a single product or income stream, when this simply isn’t a realistic strategy. We’ve all read the wild success stories about online entrepreneurs who hit instant success with their new product launch, and it’s an exciting notion with a strong “rags to riches” kind of appeal. This can definitely happen for you as well but you shouldn’t put all your energy into trying to nail a one hit wonder.

There are thousands of ways to make money online and I’m not going to pretend to know them all. To be honest, I’m only good at a few specific methods, but this is more than enough to create a steady 6-figure income. Your best chance of seeing big money lies with creating a complete system with multiple profit centers, and you don’t have to be an expert in every aspect of online marketing to accomplish this. I’m not a technical genius or a marketing guru; I’m pretty much just an average guy. But like every successful Internet marketer, I have an above average desire to create deep and lasting success.

I learned very early in my career that to make a full-time living online, I was going to need more than a single eBook mini-site. I realized that if I really wanted to quit my day job, I would have to create a whole network of websites that would enable me to offer my customers a variety of different products. When you think about this it makes perfect sense. Do any of the retail stores you shop with – even those operating in a very specialized niche – offer only one product?

Multiple products (or, if you prefer, multiple income streams), is one of the most basic strategies for business success. This is especially true for entrepreneurs who may not have a massive advertising budget. I started out with one very simple website. I worked on this site every night after I got home from my job and, after a couple of months, I finally had everything squared away and looking exactly as I wanted. Using basic traffic generation tactics I slowly but surely started seeing real results. My first website was making sales; I was finally living my dream!

As thrilled as I was to have a real online income, my solitary website just wasn’t pulling in enough profit to replace my day job. I went back to square one and began the process of building a new site. Progress was a little faster with the next site because I had learned a few things from the first time around. In what seemed like no time at all, my second website was live and making money as well. I repeated the process for yet another site, and another site, and then another. Each new site came together more quickly and easily than the one before. Soon I had ten websites, each generating over $100 per week!

If I were to draw up a quick sketch of my online business for you, my network of profitable websites would resemble a spider web. At the very center of this web is my primary blog; this is the hub of my business and I use it to drive traffic to all the other sites in the network. All of my other websites are interconnected, or cross-linked, and I then use squeeze pages to bring new customers into my spider web from different directions, depending on their field of interest. Once someone is in my web, I can easily direct them to any strand I choose or I can pull them to the blog/hub in the center of my web. From here they can follow any number of links out to other sales letters and squeeze pages within my network of sites.

This strategy is very simple but extremely powerful. Everything I do to promote one part of my web, benefits every strand or link in the network. As a result, I enjoy multiple streams of passive income that put quite a bit of money into my bank account, month after month.

As you build your own network of income-producing websites keep in mind that you’re in a marathon, not a 100-metre dash. Like a marathon runner, think long-term and focus on finding your stride and a determination to finish the race.

Be sure to build your spider web to withstand high winds and inclement weather; in other words put real thought into each new part of your network. Choose products and services that compliment one another so if one income stream stops producing, the others will maintain the integrity of your business model. It’s a little cliché but think of the old saying about “not putting all of your eggs into one basket.”

Internet marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme but you can definitely get wealthy in this business. It will take some time and energy to duplicate my success but remember you are building a sophisticated business that produces cumulative income from multiple centers. Given the right amount of time and patience, even the smallest of spiders can spin an amazing web!

=====
This article first appeared in the July 2009 issue of the MarketingDotCom newsletter. You can get a free copy of the latest issue for the price of shipping at http://the7figuresecrets.com
=====

Aug 23

On The House

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

In these tough economic times, how thrilled would you be if you could find a way to cut your costs? Well take a deep breath because in this new, regular feature, we’re going to reveal ways to remove some of those costs entirely!

Especially online, the word ‘FREE’ is a powerful one. In fact, sometimes it seems that it’s almost impossible to even write the word ‘FREE’ without ensuring it’s capitalised and in bold. But if you’ve been online for more than a few weeks, you’ve probably already figured out that FREE often carries a hidden cost.

Sometimes that cost comes is the form of a low quality product that fails to fill your requirements and, consequently, wastes your time. Occasionally FREE turns out to be a ‘trial’ version that requires a payment to activate any useful functionality. But the worst kind of hidden cost is the FREE product or service that you come to depend on, only to see it fail, incurring a cost of time and money upon your business.

A classic example of this is the business that offers you free server space to host your website. When the server crashes and burns because of poor administration, you may find that the business kept their costs low by neglecting luxuries such as making regular back-up copies of the servers. Ouch!

I doubt we’ll ever tire of seeing the F word, but we have come to treat it with suspicion. The reason I want to acknowledge this is because, although no product or service can carry a 100% fail-safe guarantee (even those that you have to pay for), the free items we feature in this section will have been chosen because they fill ALL of the following criteria:

  • Despite the $0.00 price tag, the product or service must carry significant value.
  • If free and premium versions are available, the free version must still have a useful function.
  • The product must have an adequate, ongoing support system or community for trouble-shooting.

==================

Jing®
(www.jingproject.com)

Jing, created by TechSmith® (the company best known for their screen-recording software, Camtasia®), is a free software utility that runs in the background, ready to be activated with a single click of the mouse.

When set in motion, your monitor darkens slightly and the mouse cursor is replaced with a cross-hair. A single mouse click-and-drag highlights a portion of your display from a minute square, to a large rectangle encompassing the entire screen. Having selected your preferred portion of the screen, you now have the choice of selecting “Video” or “Image”.

Select “Video” and, after a short countdown, Jing begins to record anything and everything that is displayed in the selected area for a maximum of five minutes. Plug in a microphone and Jing will also record your voice-over.

Review the recording when you’re finished and, if you’re happy with the result, a single click will upload your video to Screencast.com (TechSmith’s content hosting server, also provided without charge), and the URL of your creation is copied to your clipboard, ready to be pasted into an email, a blog, a forum post, Twitter, or anything else.

Initially, the five-minute time limit may seem restrictive, but that’s missing the point. If you want to create long, skilfully edited videos, then something like Camtasia is much more suitable. Jing’s power is in its ability to jump into action in a matter of seconds, and then convert and publish your video in a matter of minutes. It’s about speed and accessibility.

Look at it this way; even if you already own Camtasia, once you’ve tried Jing for yourself, I can guarantee it’ll be your first choice anytime you want to create a short video in a hurry.

As an example, I recorded a video of the JingProject.com website and uploaded it to YouTube (you can watch it at http://tinyurl.com/FreeJing). I created the video in one take and, once I was finished, the video uploaded in the background while I carried on working. The only thing I had to wait for was for YouTube to process the video, but if I’d uploaded it to the Screencast.com server, it would have been ready to share almost instantly.

Jing is particularly well suited for creating affiliate promotions and how-to videos but, with a little imagination, you can find all sorts of other uses.

For example, let’s say you have a Support FAQ page for a product you sell. It covers the most commonly asked technical questions but, although you’ve spent a lot of time writing the explanations, people still struggle to understand it and open a support ticket instead. Responding to each ticket individually is a poor use of resources.

As a solution, put Jing to use and create a short demonstration video for each FAQ. Jing automatically copies the links to your videos onto your clipboard, so you can just paste them straight on to your FAQ page. If the videos are each a couple of minutes in length, even allowing for redoing the recordings you make a hash of, you could easily knock out half a dozen in about half an hour.

It’s almost hard to believe that TechSmith are just giving this tool away. Yet there’s more.

Jing’s video capabilities are the impressive part of the package, but you may just find that you use this tool more frequently to create screen images. Recall that I said, after selecting an area of your screen, you can choose “Video” or “Image”. If you select this second option, Jing takes a static picture and converts it into a digital image (in .png format). As with the “Video” option, you then have the option of uploading the image to the Screencast.com server, or saving it to your hard drive. Additionally, with the “Image” option, you can take the option to copy the image straight into your clipboard, ready to be pasted to the destination of your choice.

Although this isn’t the most original part of the tool, it’s an incredibly well streamlined process, made all the more impressive by a neat selection of image editing tools.

As with the “Video” functionality, if you’re looking to do some high-tech image manipulation, then you’ll need to use professional image editing software such as Photoshop. But if your only requirement is highlighting a portion of the image, or adding a couple of text boxes and some arrows, Jing will handle this in short order.

It’s quick and easy enough that you’ll soon find yourself sharing images with people, just for the fun of it. There are also plenty of practical business uses for this function. When you find a bug on your website and you’re trying to describe it to your programmer, the ability to take a quick picture, add a couple of arrows and text boxes, and then fire a link across in an email or an instant message, is immensely gratifying.

Overall, my favourite use of the image capture tool is in the creation of instructional manuals. I can type a paragraph of explanation in WORD, Alt-Tab across to the website or software that I’m describing, use Jing to grab a screen-shot and add a text box, Alt-Tab back to WORD, and paste the picture straight into my document.

There is a PRO version of Jing available for a small annual fee. It adds an option to create video in a higher-resolution and a smaller file size, a one-button, “upload to YouTube” facility, and it removes the Jing branding from the videos you create.

Although the PRO edition of Jing is well worth considering, the free version is fully-formed and is an incredibly useful tool for any online business owner.

As a premier example of the kind of FREE, high quality products and services that it’s possible to find on the internet, I can think of no better candidate. Go to www.JingProject.com and try it for yourself.

=====
This article first appeared in the July 2009 issue of the MarketingDotCom newsletter. You can get a free copy of the latest issue for the price of shipping at http://the7figuresecrets.com
=====

Aug 19

Personal Time Management

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

If it’s dark when you begin working and still dark when you finish, then you’re either a night worker, or a home business owner. The dream of working less than an hour a day, on the beach, sipping cocktails, is a nice one, but it’s far removed from the experience of most internet entrepreneurs.

Working long hours is not an indication of failure, however, even if you are aiming for a four hour work week. It takes time and effort to manoeuvre your business into a position that allows you to work fewer, shorter days. You may even enjoy your work so much that working everyday suits you just fine.

But the likelihood is that most of your work days are far longer than you would like them to be.

The life of an entrepreneur is free from the restraints of having a boss to answer to, but it tends to come at the expense of ever extending work days, and an ever expanding “to do” list.

How often do you find yourself saying, “I can’t believe it’s already 5:00pm” or, perhaps more accurately, “I can’t believe it’s already 11:00pm”, and yet you’ve only completed half of the tasks you assigned yourself for the day? If you’re like most busy entrepreneurs, the answer is: “A LOT!”

The glib answer to the question of how to get more done in less time is to hire a staff, and recruitment or outsourcing is worthy of consideration. But there is a much simpler and economical technique that you should always consider first.

And if you’re feeling a little smug right now because you already get by on short work days, don’t switch off. The business of Internet marketing may have allowed you more free time with your friends and family but there will still be times when the pressure is on and your workload suddenly piles up.

What you’re about to read will prepare you for those occasions, as well as increasing your overall productivity.

Introducing… Personal Time Management.

Personal Time Management (PTM) is, as the name suggests, about controlling the use of your most valuable resource: Time.
The absence of PTM is characterized by last minute rushes to meet deadlines, days that seem terribly unproductive, and crises which seem to spring up out of nowhere. If these things describe some of your work days – and especially if they describe the majority – then you’re working in an environment that leads to an increase in stress and a decrease in quality of product and performance.

Personal Time Management can be broken down into just 3 simple steps:

Step One: Waste Disposal
(Eliminate wasted time)

There are various sources of waste. The most common are the social variety: telephone calls, emails, friends dropping by, instant messaging, and so on. It would be foolish to eliminate all non-work related activity because breaks are important, especially those that get you on your feet and away from the monitor for a few moments. But if it’s a choice between chatting with Betty or meeting the next deadline… you should choose the latter.

For the next couple of days make a list of all your activities during work hours and how much time you spend on each one (www.rescuetime.com is a helpful tool for this). Then consider each item and decide approximately how much money each activity is worth to you. Finally – and this is the fun part – compare the dollar amount for each item with the amount of time you actually spent on it.

Once you’ve put a dollar amount on your time, certain types of activities will naturally be reduced. An afternoon spent surfing the web or posting comments on your friend’s Facebook page will no longer feel like a profitable way to spend your work afternoon once you have a cash amount on the hours you have just spent doing it.

Another common source of waste stems from delaying work that is unpleasant. It’s incredibly easy to find reasons to put off doing work we don’t enjoy, often replacing them with distractions that are less important or unproductive. Let’s face it; many tasks are boring or mundane. But since they all need to be completed eventually, why not finish them as quickly as possible and move on to something more interesting?

Step Two: Time Allocation
(Allocate time, proportionate to the importance of a task)

The next stage of PTM is to begin organizing tasks based on their importance. Get a notebook, jot down all of your tasks, and then organize your list based on importance.

Note that I said “importance”, and not “how much you enjoy doing them”. Examine your list dispassionately, with your foremost thoughts centred on things like deadlines, potential profitability, and commitment to your customers. Finally, once you have your list prioritized, assign a period of your time for each task, based on its level of importance.

What will tend to happen at this point is that your most important activities will get the majority of your attention, and less significant tasks will be given a shorter time slot in which to be completed.

Be ruthless! Do you have a long business lunch planned? Maybe it could be completed quicker in the form of a short conference call. Have you scheduled a whole hour for an interview? If you only have a few questions to discuss, don’t stretch it to an hour with small talk when twenty minutes would suffice.

As time goes by, you’ll get better at differentiating between the important and the unimportant and, instead of reducing the time you spend on unnecessary tasks or appointments, you’ll start to eliminate them entirely.

Step Three: Daily Planning
(Plan each day efficiently)

At the end of each day, set aside twenty minutes to go through your list and assess your productivity. Did you complete all the tasks you set out to finish? Was every task completed to the best of your ability, or did you rush through? For the items that were not completed, identify the reasons why and figure out if there is a way of being more efficient in the future.

After you assess the current day’s activities, spend a few minutes creating tomorrow’s plan of action. Break your list into an ‘A’ section and a ‘B’ section. Items in Section A must be completed tomorrow and items in Section B shouldn’t be touched until Section A is complete.

Planning the following day’s activities is a simple task that anyone can do, and it will save you valuable time the next morning. Instead of puttering about for the first half hour, you can immediately dive into your first task while things are quieter and there are fewer distractions.

It’s a good feeling to be able to get to mid-morning and have already completed the most important task on your list!

Common Sense
Learning time management strategies can be something of an anti-climax, because many of them seem to be little more than common sense. But common sense solutions can only be applied once you know where the problems lie.

Earlier in this article I said that “time” is our most valuable resource. The reason for that assessment is because it’s one of the few things in life that it’s impossible to get more of. No matter how many marketing skills you acquire, no matter how much you earn, no matter how well you eat and exercise, just like everyone else on the planet, you get 1440 minutes a day. No more, no less.

Personal Time Management doesn’t make days last longer but it does provide you with a way to identify your problem area, enabling you to take control of your time, maximise your productivity, and get the most value from this priceless commodity. How you then use that power is up to you.

=====
By John Russo
=====
This article first appeared in the July 2009 issue of the MarketingDotCom newsletter. You can get a free copy of the latest issue for the price of shipping at http://the7figuresecrets.com
=====

Aug 16

Salesmanship Mentality: How to Sell Anything!

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

Salesmanship; the word immediately triggers a negative response from most people. The average consumer doesn’t like talking to salespeople, and most new entrepreneurs don’t like the idea of selling to their consumers.

I understand that. Sale reps can be intimidating and it’s uncomfortable making small talk with them because you know their intent is to pitch you something. When I’m browsing a retail store I prefer to be left alone until I have questions or until I’ve decided to go ahead and buy.

But I do understand the need for selling in our society. Quite honestly, this activity is responsible for most of the advances we enjoy as a civilization. Not only do salespeople drive the world economy with their diligent efforts, the idea behind every technological or medical advance in history had to first, be sold to someone. We all use selling on a daily basis to improve our own lives and make the world a better place, whether we’re teaching our kids the importance of recycling or we’re trying to get a date at the supermarket with the cute cashier at checkout #6.

The reality that most business people wake up to very quickly is that all but natural born salespeople have a really difficult time with hard selling. People tend to think of selling as impolite, and they are uncomfortable trying to convince people to buy from them. A lot of new businesspeople and entrepreneurs are uncomfortable selling. Note the word “new”, because those that survive in their field long-term either get over it and learn to sell, or they hire someone else to do the selling for them; the only other alternative is to go under due to lack of revenue.

Even if you have a great product, you must be able to craft an effective sales message in order to move this item into the possession of a customer who really wants or needs it. The great fallacy that kills many businesses is the notion that a great product will sell itself; if this were true the world we live in would be very different and nobody would need a sales force for their company.

Think about it: No matter how great a product is, how can your prospect really know this unless you point out all the benefits for them?

To overcome any reticence you have in this area, you need to understand that selling can be a very positive thing. It doesn’t have to be about tricking people into giving you their money. As master salesman, Zig Ziglar, likes to say, you are the customer’s trusted “assistant buyer”, helping them to make a choice to improve their life. Wealth Coach, Harv Eker, points out, you should be proud of the value you offer and promote it “with passion and enthusiasm”. If you entertain any negative thoughts or feelings about selling, shift your perspective immediately and look at sales ability as a wonderful thing that makes the world better for all involved.

Secondly, understand that it isn’t essential to be a great salesperson to leverage copy writing, for big profits. Most people, whether they’d admit it or not, actually enjoy reading a great sales letter about a product or service they have an interest in. The sales copy model would have faded away a long time ago, if this method didn’t work and weren’t well-received by the buyer. And the best part about this is that you don’t have to interact directly with the prospect, so there’s no pressure and no rejection!

It’s much easier to say something in writing – whether it’s on paper or on a Web page – than to say it directly to another person who is standing in front of you. You can take all the time in the world to think over each line, and you can edit your work until your message relays exactly what you want to say. To be a successful copywriter all you need to be able to do, is write a simple letter and learn the simple secrets I’m about to reveal.

The following three simple rules will help you get started with effective copy writing immediately. Of course you could spend an entire career improving your game but the main thing is to start with solid fundamentals and have fun mastering the basics.

One final caveat: You DO need to develop the sales mentality or your default psychological position will be to look for excuses and you’ll be writing with an exit in mind rather than a sale. Any lack of confidence or negative feelings toward selling will show through in your finished copy. Be sure to find your strong mental game before you start writing.

Rule Number One: People Don’t Like Being Sold
Most people love to buy, but are not fond of being directly sold to. Or more accurately, most folks don’t like knowing they are the target of a sales pitch.

Buying is a control position. Consumers feel empowered by the idea that they can spend their money with you or go elsewhere. Being pushed into a purchase by an assertive salesperson however is the opposite of being in control. This is why retail shoppers don’t like sales reps and it’s why your reader will click away if they feel they are being manipulated into a buying decision.

Your job as a copywriter is, to be as helpful as possible in terms of showing the reader how they can solve a big problem or attain something that makes them feel good about who they are. Your letter must focus heavily on benefits, feelings, and problem solving.

Rule Number Two: Focus On Emotional Triggers
The best copywriters can push the right emotional buttons. Most people don’t buy from an intellectual place, they purchase based on the emotions of the moment or the anticipated emotions of actually possessing the product/service. Some experts believe that people only engage rational thought AFTER they have bought. They spend money in an emotional moment and then they use their intellect to justify the decision later on.

Think about some of the illogical things people happily spend money on. Take chocolate cake and other sweets, for example. The stuff causes excess fat, and it can screw up your metabolism and blood sugar, yet any one category of desserts, candy, etc. is a multi-million dollar industry. Nobody needs a big slab of chocolate cake, people love it because it makes them feel great for a little while.

This is just one example of emotional button-pushing. In a previous article, I listed the big seven, powerful emotional motivators that are also known as the Seven Deadly Sins: fear, greed, vanity, lust, pride, envy, and laziness. These emotions obviously have a very negative slant but this doesn’t mean your letter needs to be twisted and depressing. Besides which, the readers won’t deliberately think of themselves in any of these ways, so your approach to hitting the buttons will be subtle.

For example, a software application that will save your prospect time could trigger the laziness and pride buttons. Your copy might paint a vivid picture of all the downtime the software can offer users, as well as instilling the idea that co-workers will be jealous of your buyer when they find out they are using your slick program. See how you can push these emotional buttons without being tactless?

Rule Number Three: Emphasize the Benefits
Once you understand the emotional triggers you can use for your copy, you’ll need to translate these into clear benefits for the prospect. Remember, benefits are not the same thing as features. A feature is a specific trait or quality of your product but a benefit is what this feature means for the buyer (i.e. how he or she will feel as a result of the feature).

Consider this scenario: A man walks into a store looking for a 60-inch flat screen TV for his basement. He wants this item but isn’t sure he really needs to spend the money. The sales rep, being well-trained, helps the prospect understand how much better the new TV will make his life.

Our TV shopper can easily picture himself on the couch with a beer watching his favorite team in high def. It’ll be nice to have such a clear picture with great sound and he works hard so he really deserves to be able to kick back in serious style during his free time. He also likes the idea of his buddies always wanting to watch the game at his place, once he has his new, killer TV in place. No more driving to someone else’s house each week!

Our prospect can already imagine the compliments he’ll get on his new toy. Even the ladies will want to spend time in his TV room; after all it’s a lot like going to the movies, only with privacy!

Can you see how the basic features of this TV – wider screen, high def picture and digital sound – are instantly translated into very real user benefits? And can you see how different emotions like vanity, pride, and even lust can be rolled into a simple presentation?

By pressing a couple of common emotional buttons and painting a clear picture of the benefits your buyer will enjoy, you pretty much have your product sold. All you need is a little practice and you’ll be selling your wares by the truckload.

Two Basic Selling Styles
It makes sense to close this article with a brief explanation of the two primary selling styles. You may naturally find that you lean toward one of these methods, or it may require a little time to figure out where you fit. Remember, all good selling works with emotions and these are the two basic ways to trigger your prospect’s emotional reaction.

The Classical Style
The classical approach involves stimulating a buying response without personally entering the picture. Your letter will be focused entirely on product benefits and emotional triggers, and says nothing about who you are or why the prospect should listen to you.

This is a very common approach. Think about all the things you have bought without even being aware of who was doing the selling. For example, have you ever signed up for a credit card because the bank president charmed you? Many purchases are made based on benefit points and with no consideration of the seller’s personality or story.

Classical style selling can be extremely effective but you may also be able to raise the bar by introducing yourself to your prospect, so to speak. This leads us to the second stylistic method.

The Charismatic Flair
This approach to selling heavily relies on using your personality, expertise, etc, to make an impression on your prospect. For instance, if you are a fitness coach with a weight loss product, your prior experience and knowledge can have a real impact on a reader’s buying decision.

Your personal story, including why you are the best person to buy this product from, will go a long way toward making your prospect comfortable with a recommendation. It’s also possible that your personality, reflected through your writing style, will strike a chord with the reader.

Have you ever bought a product that you didn’t really need just because you liked the salesperson? I certainly have. I recall once buying a complete car stereo system that I couldn’t even afford. I wanted to walk away, but the salesman was so funny and personable that I felt he deserved a commission. It sounds crazy but it happens a lot. No-one likes to admit it but even people who hate being sold have a hard time saying “no”. It’s just not a skill and a confidence most folks have, so you can totally win a sale just by having the right personality.

In my example above, the classic sales rep told me everything about the stereo, from everything it could do to the way it would make me feel. It was a great pitch and I wanted it badly but I still didn’t want to spend the money.

Then Mr. Charismatic salesman told me about his kids, some of his college anecdotes, and about the many car stereos he’d owned in his life. The more he talked the more I liked him and ultimately, I bought his product primarily for this reason!

You should definitely give real consideration to throwing yourself into your sales letter. You never know whom you might sway just by being you.

It’s a Confidence Thing
Before you can sell anything, you need to understand the three basic rules in this article, and you need to have a working knowledge of the two different approaches (classical, charismatic, or a combination of the two).

Above all, remain confident in your product and your ability to help your prospects make a sound buying decision. If you lack a positive sales mentality you’ll write with an exit in mind, and your potential buyers will see this every time.

Use these tips to get started and remember, selling is a skill. Whether it’s face-to-face or through a powerfully written sales letter, practice is critical to your ultimate success.

=====
By Rich Chille
=====
This article first appeared in the July 2009 issue of the MarketingDotCom newsletter. You can get a free copy of the latest issue for the price of shipping at http://the7figuresecrets.com
=====

Aug 12

How Full is Your Bucket?

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

“Dad, how full is your bucket?”

This was the question asked of me the other day by my 8 year old son after arriving home from school. Asked completely out of context, I was taken aback and wondered if I’d heard correctly.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

Smiling, he replied, “Everyone has an invisible bucket.”

Having managed to get my undivided attention I allowed him to explain. It seems his 2nd grade class had just read a book by Carol McCloud called, “Have You Filled a Bucket Today? – A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids.”

In fact it seemed that the whole school had been reading this book. The front of the building was adorned with a big sign asking, “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” Although initially puzzled, the more I heard about the book, the more I began to appreciate what a great concept was being taught to our kids.

Then I did a Google search and I discovered that, not only are there children’s books about filling people’s buckets, there are more advanced books on the subject for adults, teaching them how to apply this philosophy and reap positive results from their everyday life at home and at work.

Feeling compelled to learn more, I selected a book by Tom Rath and Donald Clifton called, “How Full is Your Bucket?” and after a couple of days of waiting impatiently, the book arrived in the mail. I wasn’t disappointed. Once I started reading it, I could NOT put it down.

At the end of this article, I have included a link to Amazon from which you can purchase your own copy, so I don’t want to give too much away and ruin the experience for you. Nevertheless, so that you don’t leave this page thinking that all this talk about invisible buckets is final proof that I’m completely mad, allow me to give you a brief outline of the concept.

To summarise: the story explains that each of us has an invisible bucket. The bucket is constantly emptied or filled, depending on what others say or do to us. When our bucket is full, we feel great. When it’s empty, we don’t.

Yes, obviously it’s a metaphor, but here’s the important part; we also have an invisible dipper that we can use to fill other people’s buckets by saying or doing things to increase their positive emotions. And when we do THAT, we also fill our own buckets in return.

Think for a moment about the implications of this, and then read on.

The other side of the equation is that we can also use that invisible dipper to take from other people’s buckets – by saying or doing things that decrease their positive emotions. Needless to say, this doesn’t transfer itself into our bucket; the unfortunate consequence of this action is that our own bucket begins to empty as well. When we diminish others, we also diminish ourselves.

For example, remember when you were in school and there was a bully that was always picking on other kids? He was most definitely a “bucket dipper”. The sad truth is that, like everyone else, he was desperately trying to find some satisfaction in life. Yet all he succeeded in doing was depleting his own bucket, and those of everyone he persecuted.

A full bucket gives us a positive outlook and renewed energy, every drop making us stronger and more optimistic. But an empty bucket poisons our outlook, zaps our energy, and undermines our will. That’s why, every time someone dips from our bucket, it hurts us.

It’s a simple notion, but it can be applied to many different aspects of your everyday life. Every moment of every day we face a choice: We can fill one another’s buckets, or we can dip from them. It’s an important choice, one that profoundly influences our relationships, productivity, health, and happiness.

Fill other people’s buckets and some of the great results you could see include:

  • A workplace that’s more productive and fun to work in.
  • Gaining more friends.
  • Becoming more satisfied and engaged with your colleagues and customers.
  • A stronger marriage.
  • A closer relationship with your family and friends.
  • A healthier, happier and, quite possibly, a longer life.

If you’re thinking the above list is a bit of a stretch, then consider some of the results – positive and negative – of studies into this kind of behaviour

  • Having a bad boss could increase the risk of stroke by 33%.
  • The #1 reason why people quit their jobs: Not feeling appreciated.
  • Having a bad boss could increase the risk of stroke by 33%.
  • A negative employee can scare off every customer they speak with – permanently.
  • In a North Korean POW camp, relentless negativity resulted in a 38% death rate – the highest in U.S. military history.
  • Increasing positive emotions could boost your life expectancy by up to 10 years.

Hopefully, by now, the question you’re asking is, “How can I start filling people’s buckets?” To find out the full answer to that question, I urge you to get your own copy of the book, “How Full is Your Bucket?” as soon as possible. Until it arrives, here’s a simple task to get you started.

Make a point of sending at least one friendly, positive email to a family member, a colleague, or perhaps someone you haven’t contacted in a while. Additionally, determine to maintain that same outlook when replying to emails you receive – even if the email is an angry complaint from a customer. Alternatively – or perhaps as well as – you can apply the same concept to telephone calls.

Don’t waste another moment. A bucket, somewhere, is waiting for you to fill it! Try this for a few days and see for yourself the positive results that emerge.

“How Full is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life” is available from Amazon.com – http://tinyurl.com/fillyourbucket

=====
By Joe Jablonski
=====
This article first appeared in the July 2009 issue of the MarketingDotCom newsletter. You can get a free copy of the latest issue for the price of shipping at http://the7figuresecrets.com
=====

Aug 12

MDC Monthly Preview – September 2011

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

What’s inside the September 2011 issue of MDC Monthly?

Think Local

  • Why local marketing services are in hot demand.
  • How to outdo the big established businesses.
  • Where to find your first clients.
  • The low entry cost and high returns of consultancy.
  • The importance of face-to-face networking.
  • How to make your consultancy business stand out from the crowd.
  • A smart technique for generating 15-25 local marketing clients . . . every month!

“The Creativity Habit” with Jennifer Syrkiewicz

  • Train your brain to be creative . . . on demand.
  • J.K. Rowling’s strategy for producing a best-seller.

“Win Gracefully” with Anik Singal

  • Discover the customer appreciation technique.
  • Work with your competitors, not against them.

“Reconstructing Your Financial Identity – Part Two” with Stephen Pierce

  • The perfect morning schedule to prepare you for the day’s challenges.
  • Take the 3-week, meditation challenge.

“Making Money from Your Interviews” with Heather Vale Goss

  • Turn your content into cash.
  • Six simple methods for profiting from your interviews.

“A Question of SEO” with David Congreave

  • A little-known tool to find the questions that people are searching on.
  • Create perfectly-targeted content that Google will love.

Latest book reviews:

  • The Business of iPhone and iPad App Development” by Dave Wooldridge, with Michael Schneider.
  • The Zen of Social Media Marketing” by Shama Hyder Kabani.

Additional regular features:

  • Internet Marketing News
  • “Free Advice and Worth Every Penny” with Dafydd Manton

Don’t miss the September 2011 edition of MDC Monthly!
You can get a free trial copy shipped to your door by clicking here.

Aug 09

Mining Your Acres of Diamonds

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

The idea of doing some “mining” may be a bit intimidating as it conveys the idea that there’s a lot of equipment and expertise involved to get what is in the ground out into the fresh air. By contrast, mining your “Acres of Diamonds” to create information products is remarkably simple. All you need to know is which actions and tools you need, to accomplish your task.

If you have ever been daunted by the thought of creating your own information product, you’ll be relieved to learn that fear is not
necessary as long as you have the proper game plan. By following the process outlined below you can have an information product completed and ready to go on sale within 24 hours.

In fact, if you’re truly motivated and prepared to take decisive action, you could accomplish the same feat in only a couple of hours.
I hope you had the chance to review my previous article, “Your Undiscovered Acres of Diamonds”. If not, go back and complete the preparation work outlined there before reading on: Your Undiscovered “Acres of Diamonds”.

Ready to move on? Good. Now you need to analyze your past experiences and expertise and choose the one you feel has the easiest diamond to excavate. When making your selection, consider this question: Is there already a hungry target market out there and are they willing to hand over their e-mail address or, better still, their credit card to receive the information you have to offer?

The next step is to research your market. Once you’ve identified the people who are your target market, you need to find out as much general information as possible about them, in relation to your product. You need the answers to questions such as:

  • What are their dreams?
  • What are their fears?
  • What problems are they facing?
  • What problems might they experience in the future?

Your goal is to help your market – through your information product – find the answers and solutions to these questions
This is the point where many people come up blank. How do you turn your experience and knowledge into a product? Where do you even start with something like this?

Relax. Carry out the following exercise and you’ll know exactly how to get started.

Get a pen and paper and make a list of all the nuggets of information you want to share. You don’t have to write a lot of detail, just a few words or a couple of sentences that makes sense to you. You might not remember everything you want to include the first time around, but you can keep adding to the list as more points come to mind.

Once you’re done, go over each of your points in turn and imagine you’re on the game show, “Jeopardy”. For each point, figure out what question you would need to be asked, to be able to give an answer that includes that pearl of wisdom (or should that be diamond?).

All you have to do now is give this list to a friend and make an audio (or video) recording of him asking the questions, and you responding with your insightful answers, and insider secrets.

Before I move on to the technical details, I want to share a Golden Tip that I received from one of my first coaches, Mike Litman, “You don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it going!”

Remember the KISS method – Keep It Simple Stupid? Do NOT overcomplicate this process, do NOT over think it, and do NOT make excuses about having to wait until everything is perfect before you do it. Trash all of your excuses about sound quality, video quality, poor grammar, spelling, the moon not being full, or whatever. Take decisive action NOW and just get it done!

I cannot overstate the importance of this because I have seen too many people with so much to share, get caught in the perfection zone and their product never sees the light of day. This hurts, not only them, but the potential customers who missed out on their knowledge and wisdom.

Making a simple audio recording of your interview is much, much simpler than you might imagine. You can conduct your conversation over the telephone using a telephone bridge service that allows you to record the call. Once the recorded interview is complete and you’ve shared all of your specialized knowledge and expertise, you’re done. Congratulations! You have an information product ready to be marketed.

Can you see how simple this can be?

If you want to go that extra mile you could contact a transcription service and have your audio transcribed into a Word document. You can then offer this as a bonus in the form of a downloadable, PDF report/transcript.

You can see examples of Mike using this exact formula, early on in his career at www.outsourcesecrets.com and again with Russell Brunson at www.prelaunchsecrets.com.

Take a moment to visit those two sites and observe the product being offered, and how simple this concept is. Both sites feature a recording of a telephone conversation between Mike and another person, plus a transcript of the conversation.

If you look a little more closely, you might also notice that Mike used the Butterfly script (earliest version) for these sites, to create what he coined as a “Butterfly Thank You Page” site. I discussed this in an article a couple of issues back and Mike also outlines it in detail in The Butterfly Marketing Manuscript. Be sure to re-read those as soon as possible as you’ll want to know what to do once your information product is completed.

Another example of this approach is LaunchTree.com. LaunchTree is a project that Mike and Anik worked on. Again, they employed this same technique – conducting video interviews with top experts – but this time it was designed to create a HUGE buzz during the LaunchTree pre-launch period.

Bottom line? This process works, and works extremely well whether you are the expert or you are the one interviewing the expert.
Put a day to one side and use the time to create your own information product. Aim to have this completed within the next four weeks because, in my next article, I’m going to discuss how to build a site from which to sell your new product, and how to begin driving traffic to it.

=====
By Tom Beal
=====
This article first appeared in the July 2009 issue of the MarketingDotCom newsletter. You can get a free copy of the latest issue for the price of shipping at http://the7figuresecrets.com

Aug 05

The Blame Game

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

Since I’m about to brand myself as an internet marketing heretic, I can’t exclude the possibility that I may shortly find myself bundled into an unmarked van, never to be heard from again. In case this does turn out to be the last article that I ever write, I hope you’ll take what you’re about to read seriously.

Just be careful whom you share it with…

There is a fact, well-known within the internet marketing industry that is rarely discussed. Not because of some big conspiracy to maintain revenues but because it’s a truth that most people don’t want to hear. The minority who would listen and nod their heads appreciatively don’t need this information, and the majority who could really use it will most likely reject it and may even become angry over the idea.

The reason why I’m going to discuss it anyway, is because I’m a writer first and an entrepreneur second. The part of me that has a modicum of business sense is telling me that this is a bad idea but, the ambitious, literary part of me, believes that I can present this knowledge in a manner that might – just might – allow me to get away with it.

I’m going to begin, by making a broad statement about a large portion of potential, online business owners and your first instinct is probably going to be to place yourself outside of this category. You may be absolutely right, but all I’m asking is that you fight that urge for a few moments and just consider the possibility that this might, to some degree, describe your status.

Ready? Here it is:

Of all the people who are interested in exchanging their day job, for a home business of their own, a large majority have spent money on several – sometimes many – internet marketing products and services, but have yet to create a consistent profit. And the majority of the blame lies with themselves.

When expectations of wealth don’t quickly materialise, some assign fault to the effective internet marketers for selling ineffective products. Others believe they must be missing a piece of the puzzle and make more purchases. Many assume they just don’t have what it takes and give up on the idea. These excuses may occasionally have some basis in fact but there is a far simpler, overriding reason, why the majority of customers, purchasing the majority of internet marketing products, see little or no results:

It’s because they don’t make full use of their purchase.

When someone buys an internet marketing product, they will usually do one of the following:

  1. Store the product to look at or try later, and never get around to it.
  2. Browse through the product a little, become distracted with something else, and never come back to it.
  3. Browse through the product and then reject it, deciding it’s too difficult or requires too much effort.
  4. Study the product carefully but skip the parts that sound too difficult and try to take short-cuts. When they fail, they reject the product as faulty, or beyond their capabilities.
  5. Study the product carefully and use it as instructed, then become distracted by something else.
  6. Study the product carefully and use it as instructed, only to give up after a few weeks or months, when profits are less than anticipated.
  7. Study the product carefully, use it as instructed, begin to make real progress, only to give up when they hit an unanticipated problem.
  8. Study the product carefully, use it as instructed, seek out assistance when they hit a problem, and persist with their efforts until they see results similar to those promised on the sales page.

There’s no-one listening to your thoughts. It’s just you and this page. Take a moment to assess how many of the above categories that, at one time or another, you’ve managed to fit into. If it helps you to make an honest appraisal, I don’t mind telling you that I’ve had experiences similar to one or two of these. Actually, I’ve had a few of them. Erm, ok, I’ve experienced all of them at one time or another.

I could blame this on testimonials that describe the exceptional results, rather than the average experience. I could blame it on the creator’s of the products for not making more of an effort to persuade me to use my purchase. I could even blame it on the mass obsession with instant wealth, creating unrealistic expectation.

Or I could point the finger of blame at the constant in my experiences: Me

In fact, if we face this honestly, we’d probably find that most of the internet marketing products and services out there are all effective to one degree or another, if we only gave them our full and persistent attention. Bad time management, poor concentration, and a lack of commitment are likely responsible for far more of our failures than most of us would care to admit.

This is the uncomfortable truth that few will give voice to because most people don’t want to hear it. If you voice it, many will write you off as sanctimonious, self-important and condescending. But I’m hoping you’ll see this for what it really is: An Opportunity!

Consider two things. Firstly, being responsible for your failures is far better than the blame lying purely with others. With the latter, you have a problem that is largely out of your hands, but with the former you have something that is possible to fix. Secondly, when I said I’ve experienced all of the categories I listed, that INCLUDES category #8.

In addition to purchasing many internet marketing products on impulse that I failed to properly utilise, I’ve made a number of noteworthy purchases to which I gave my full attention and that yielded some significant results. There are three that specifically come to mind.

Marketing training course with Chris Cardell
I took one of the specific strategies that Chris Cardell taught and committed almost all of my resources to carrying it out for approximately 6-8 weeks. The result was a small flurry of new business that netted $15,000 immediately, and additional revenue from repeat purchases over the next few years.

Stomping the Search Engines membership at Stompernet
I studied hard for a couple of months and followed that up by applying what I’d learned. As a consequence, the decline in search engine traffic that I’d been experiencing for the past 12 months, came to a halt. Since then, search engine traffic to my core website has increased from about 15,000 visits per month, to well over 50,000 visits per month.

Launch Formula Marketing software from Robert Puddy
Using the software as instructed – including the affiliate management, one-time-offer and downsell features – my two business partners and I launched our membership website (www.Lucid-SEO.com) and grossed approximately $45,000 in the first ten days.

Experiencing failures 1-7, has not prevented me from experiencing success #8. Nor should it prevent you. To improve your chances of getting there, consider the three factors that represent the difference between the internet marketing products I failed with, and those I succeeded with.

1) Accepting Responsibility
I firmly believed that my lack of results was not a result of purchasing bad internet marketing products, or even a lack of ability on my own part. Rather, they were attributable to a lack of focus and attention on applying what I was learning. I needed to figure out exactly what I wanted to do, what training or tools I would need to accomplish that, and concentrate on these to the exclusion of everything else.

2) Purchasing Needs Instead of Wants
To increase my profits, I needed to learn how to sell; I purchased a 12-week, home study course on marketing. To reverse the decline in search engine traffic, I needed to learn search engine optimisation; I purchased a membership with Stompernet. I needed a script that could deliver my Lucid SEO training product and allow me to monetise it; I purchased the Launch Formula Marketing script.

Sometimes a product is launched that appears to offer a solution to the flaw in your business that’s been nagging at you for months. But it’s far better to identify a problem, research available solutions, and then compare price and features. If it’s a great offer and it’s within your budget, then go right ahead; I’m not suggesting you should never buy a product on impulse. However, if you carefully select and purchase something your business needs, right now, there is a much greater incentive to give it your full attention.

3) No Half-Measures
Business problems are nearly always connected to profits. When you identify a product or service that can solve your dilemma, it usually means you have to eat even further into your profits to acquire it. That being the case, why would you waste that money by not fully using your purchase?

If you’ve purchased something your business REALLY needs – perhaps something that could prevent it from folding or that could massively increase profits – you should have all the motivation you need to give it your full attention. Ensure you give it nothing less.

If by this point you’re firmly convinced that I’m an internet marketing heretic, there is probably little I can say to change your mind. Just assume this is the ramblings of an over-caffeinated Englishman and we’ll leave it at that. But if, as I’m hoping, you take this article for what it’s intended to be – a rallying call to all aspiring internet marketers to grasp the nettle and make an asserted effort to succeed – then I thank you for your tolerance and I’ll see you next month.

Assuming I manage to avoid capture…

=====
This article first appeared in the July 2009 issue of the MarketingDotCom newsletter. You can get a free copy of the latest issue for the price of shipping at http://the7figuresecrets.com
=====

Aug 02

Product Launch: Splash or Tsunami?

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

Your first product launch is such an exciting and absorbing prospect, it can be easy to become short-sighted. What follows a product launch is the embarrassing secret that people don’t like to talk about.

This is the way it plays out…

A new exciting product is about to be launched and the pre-launch fever is high. Joint Venture (JV) partners are stacking their autoresponders and compiling their bonuses.

When launch day arrives, the hype explodes into action like an energetic puppy on a caffeine drip. In a flash, sales go from zero to astronomical, and within 1-2 weeks the owner is able to announce impressive sales figures.

If you were to plot this on a chart, you’d see a red line plotting an almost vertical ascent. But if you were to keep charting sales over the weeks AFTER the product launch period ends, you’d see a corresponding, almost vertical descent, as the volume of sales almost flat-lines.

Affiliates enjoy the flurry of commissions during the launch period but, rather than continue promoting the product in the long-term, they move on to the next forthcoming product launch. The owner, while pleased with the instant payday, is left wondering where future income is going to come from.

Admittedly this isn’t always the case but many internet marketing product launches follow this pattern. This is one of the main reasons why the owner will be back 6-12 months later with… yet another product launch.

There is a way out of this cycle and in fact, if you’ve yet to mastermind your own product launch, you can even avoid getting onto this treadmill in the first place.

It won’t surprise you to hear that the vast majority of profitable launches owe their success largely to JV partners with responsive mailing lists. What you might not be aware of is how few of those JV partners are needed to achieve significant results.

The 80/20 rule applies here, approximately 80% of affiliate sales will come from 20% of your affiliates. Put another way, if you manage to find 20 people to promote your product as affiliates, the vast majority of your sales will probably come from just 3 or 4 of them.

Among aspiring internet marketers, the dream of a spectacular six-figure profit launch is a common one. The truth is that this rarely happens by accident. Now more than ever, the competition in the internet marketing industry is strong and, if you want ongoing success, you need to be making a long-term plan that gradually scales upwards as your business success increases.

It’s the difference between a product launch that makes a few ripples, and a product launch that goes on to whip up a tsunami of sales that continues to grow and expand.

Let’s start at the beginning…

Get Noticed

Listing your product on Clickbank and hoping that word of mouth will propel you towards a fortune is unlikely to do the job. Before you launch your first product, you need to get the attention of some competent affiliates. You may not be able to attract a huge number to your first launch but all you need is just one or two of those initial JV partners to have “super affiliate” status, and you’re up and running.

How do you get the attention of affiliate marketers, particularly those with the hefty, responsive mailing lists? There are two methods that can work individually, but can also be combined to maximize your results.

The first method is to focus your energies on networking. Attend every internet marketing seminar and workshop that you can find. Be friendly and look for ways to help people out. The main goal here is to build a network of marketers who view you as someone pleasant and helpful, but you must be genuine in your attempts to engage with people. If you’re entirely self-serving, this will be noticed.

The consequence is that, when you begin planning your own product launch, you’ll have a group of people whom you can approach and ask for support. Don’t be offended if some people still decline your invitation; successful marketers receive more joint venture invitations than they can handle, so they have to be selective. If your networking has been successful you should still manage to find a handful of solid JV partners to assist with your initial promotion.

And always, always, always, ask if they can recommend you to anyone else who might be interested in joining in your promotion. Especially from those who have declined to take part, you will receive some helpful suggestions and contacts.

Along the same lines, a good way of being noticed for being a helpful individual is to join in other people’s product launches. Building a list, promoting a quality product, and making the owner X number of sales, is a sure-fire way to gain someone’s attention and gratitude.

It’s worth putting in some extra effort to try and make enough sales to rank in a JV competition; this will also get you noticed by other marketers who participate. This can result in more private JV invitations, and more friends in your network.

Practice one, or both, of these techniques and you’ll have an excellent chance of having a good pool of affiliates promoting your product launch.

The Long Haul

If you’re thinking that none of the above is going to prevent the “boom and bust” effect of a product launch, then you’re right. That part comes next and is most effective when you’ve used the above system.

As shallow as it may sound, once you’ve had a successful product launch you will be viewed by many in a completely different light. Even if your initial sales volume was modest, you’ll be astounded how your perceived status changes. This will probably be most notable in the tone and volume of emails you start to receive from other people seeking your support for their project.

By all means help out where you can but don’t be drawn into spending all your time on product launches. You still want to be perceived as a helpful individual but if you’re going to receive long-term affiliate promotion for your project you need to keep moving forward.

The next step is to find more JV partners and arrange private, individual promotions that will be exclusive to their list. The product will be the same, but the price or the package may be a little different. Think of it as arranging a series of mini product launches, one affiliate at a time.

The pay-off from each individual promotion may be less than your original launch (although a single affiliate with a responsive list, can be very lucrative by itself) but you’re now building long-term income that pays for the hard work you put into the pre-launch.

Additionally, if you invite each new batch of customers to promote your product, even if you only add 2-3 new affiliates each time, the eventual snowball effect can be very effective. Many affiliates are all about the product launch, but there are some out there who will promote a product continually if they are seeing results for their efforts.

Finding JV partners for these ongoing promotions is an extension of the first step. Start with the contacts that were unable to take part in the initial product launch, but seemed reluctant in their refusal. Approach them a second time – with conversion rates to bolster your request – and invite them to choose a convenient date.

Widen the Search

Keep on the lookout for new JV partners but, if you’re running dry, try and find a good JV Broker to help you expand your reach.

A JV Broker is a marketer who connects list owners with product owners. They will usually work on a commission basis, taking anything up to 25% on top of the commission received by the affiliates they refer to you. The income you receive from this arrangement may be less but, even if you only break even, you’re building an ever wider network of affiliates, some of whom may be willing to promote for you again and again.

You can do a Google search but you’re more likely to find the best JV Brokers through personal referrals. This is where attending offline events and building a network of contacts is so important. Ask experienced marketers for some recommendations for JV Brokers and you’ll receive one or two names to get you started.

Give It Up

As the number of your active affiliates and JV partners grows, so will the volume of work required to support their activity. Before it reaches the point where you expend so much effort on affiliate management that you don’t have time to locate new affiliates, invest some of your profits in hiring a dedicated Affiliate Manager.

The job title misleads many into thinking that this job is merely about finding new affiliates. While that is one of the duties of an affiliate manager, the role is far more varied and includes:

  • Creating promotional material
  • Training your affiliates to be more effective
  • Responding to support queries
  • Identifying and taking care of your most effective affiliates
  • Paying out commissions

A good affiliate manager will take this work off your hands and continue to grow your affiliate network on your behalf.

As you can imagine, this is a demanding role that requires marketing expertise, a good sense of customer service, and highly tuned organizational abilities. You need to be confident that your affiliate manager can represent you well and help, rather than hinder, the relationships that you’ve worked hard to build up. You need to recruit carefully and not without a great deal of consideration.

Every internet marketing entrepreneur dreams of the successful product launch and there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s only those that consider and plan for long-term results that do more than make a single splash.

===========
This article first appeared in the June 2009 issue of the MarketingDotCom newsletter. You can get a free copy of the latest issue for the price of shipping at ://the7figuresecrets.com